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Dublin: 17 °C Thursday 19 April, 2018

Suarez may struggle to shine in Brazil, says Hodgson

Uruguay are England’s group rivals in Brazil next month.

Luis Suarez salutes the Anfield crowd after the final game of the season.
Luis Suarez salutes the Anfield crowd after the final game of the season.
Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

ENGLAND MANAGER Roy Hodgson believes Luis Suarez may not be as effective for Uruguay as he is for Liverpool.

The two nations have been drawn together in Group D for the tournament in Brazil, and meet in the second round of fixtures on 19 June.

But Hodgson feels double footballer of the year Suarez — who scored 31 Premier League goals last season to inspire Liverpool’s title challenge — could struggle without his club-mates around him.

“Suarez is my player of the year,” he says. “I’m not trying to take anything away from him, he’s had a wonderful season. He’s an exceptional player, with exceptional ability.

“But he’s not alone. He won’t have at Uruguay the same players he has around him at Liverpool. So who knows? Maybe he’s less effective with Uruguay than for Liverpool.

“I think it would be a big mistake to get hung up on any individual player no matter how much you respect their ability.

“In our team talk we will focus on Uruguay as a team, the way they play, the way they attack and defend, it won’t be all about just ‘Suarez, Suarez, Suarez’. I expect our players when they go out against Uruguay to deal with Luis Suarez as if they were meeting him in a club competition.

“Our two centre-halves, Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka, have played against him many times. They know his strengths.

“If we are going to deal with any great player at the World Cup we will have to be well organised as a team.

Soccer - World Cup 2014 - England Squad Announcement - Griffin House Source: EMPICS Sport

“I would be very worried if we have so little faith in ourselves that when we are going to play Italy or Uruguay it’s all about Mario Balotelli this, or Suarez that.

“I would like to think our players are thinking ‘We are good too’.”

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